Archive for March, 2010

by matt

i work in a depanneur in point st. charles.  this is what happened tonight:

a kid came in with her dad.  she wanted peanut butter.

dad – “god, you’re so fucking frustrating!”

an obviously inebriated man cam in and bought some chips for the bar next door.

man – “16 bucks for chips?  are you kidding me?”

matt – “i shit you not.”

man – “i shit you not?  where were YOU born?”

matt – “montreal.”

man – “where were your parents born?”

matt – “alexandria, ontario.”

man – “you hit the nail on the head!  dominion street, betty bread bakery!”

matt – “my mom works there!”

(clumsy, awkward, drunken handshake)

man – “shit, what are you doing here?”

matt – “living, working.”

man – “frenchies bar!  gaetan’s chip stand!”

matt – “how the hell do you know all this?”

man – “i gotta get back to the bar!”

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by matt

i work in a depanneur in point st. charles.  here’s what happened tonight:

slim – do you have enough fives for tonight?

matt – i don’t know.

slim – well, you’re the genius.


slim – well?

matt – i don’t know.  i’m sorry i forgot yesterday.  i feel terrible, like i should just shoot myself in the head.

slim – no, it’s ok.

had a long conversation with mo, a quebec nationalist.

“serve me only in french, we’re in quebec.”

“if you keep pushing people up against the wall at some point they’re going to fight back.”

“the irish were sent here by the british to assimilate the french.”

“we’ve been turned into white ni***rs.”

radio – “a dj saved my life tonight.

came up with a great idea;  set up in a touristy area with manuscript paper and do musical caricatures.

the cossack is roumanian.  we had a long conversation about the dubious provenance of grape juice followed by some talk about cigarettes.

“they smell like your smoking tree leaves!”

met a red-nosed pit bull named buddy.  ridiculous.

then the neighborhood beagle came in.  they met.  adorable.

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by matt

i work at a depanneur in point st. charles.  here’s what happened tonight:

no rubber gloves, i had to do bottle returns with my bare hands with no hand-washing facilities.

radio djs on strange movie titles:

male dj – “‘dude, where’s my car?’  is that a movie?”

female dj – “‘weekend at bernies’ always bugged me.”

caller – “the absolute worst is ‘the men who stare at goats.’

male dj – “the movie wasn’t very good, either.”

caller – “oh, i haven’t seen the movie.”

radio – “everybody do the dinosaur.”

forgot to get felix to buy five dollar bills leaving me short on fives for the entire weekend.

everyone paid in fives!

radio played “rapper’s delight” but cut it off after the second m.c.

a guy came in looking suspiciously like a cossack.

spent three minutes watching felix flip pennies off the counter.

part of the ceiling caved in.

regular – “mumble, mumble they’re smoking anuses.”

met this guy.

john tesh – there IS such thing as the five-year itch.”

part of the ceiling fell off, again, almost hitting felix.

someone came in with a mug of beer and bought a 2L bottle of diet coke.

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by matt

i work in a depanneur in point st. charles. here’s what happened tonight.

nauseous and runny!

slim called, his name showed up on the caller display:

matt – hello?
slim – depanneur, depanneur, you have to say depanneur!
matt – even when i know it’s you?
slim – no, then it’s ok.
matt – ’cause your name showed up on the phone.
slim – but even yesterday i noticed you saying “hello, hello” all the time (because he always listening via microphone).
matt – yeah, i usually say that when i know it’s you (he calls a lot).
slim – do you mind just sticking to the script?

i vomited into the garbage can, bought some bags because i couldn’t find the store’s bags and swapped the vomit-filled one for a clean one. when slim came back about an hour later i told him about the vomit-filled bag so he wouldn’t get any nasty surprises and he told me to go home.

slim – do you think you’ll be better by friday (this was a sunday)?
matt – if i’m not better by friday then there’s something seriously wrong with me.
slim – ok, but do you think you’ll be better? i have obligations, too.
matt – i’m sure i’ll be better by friday.
slim – are you sure?
matt – if there’s a knife in my head i’ll still be here friday.
slim – ’cause your wife’ll put it there, right? (did i mention he thinks women are evil? even little girls? “even that young, they still know how to fuck with you.”)
matt – yeah… that’s right… ok, see you friday.

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by matt

i work in a depanneur in point st. charles. here’s what happened tonight.

slim (boss) threw an armful of boxes in a brief tirade about keeping the beer bottle returns area clean:
“i have an inspector who’s up my ass.”
“you saw how it looks. looks like a hell-hole.”

david (my landlord) came in:
“i’ve got a knuckle full of nickels”

an obese young woman was incredulous regarding our “composed butter” treats:
“omg, can you imagine the calories?!?!?!?”

marco (former delivery boy) stopped in to talk hockey:
“if i was every other team in the eastern conference i’d be keeping my fingers crossed.”

my neighbour came in with his dog, maggie and bought 2 6/49 tickets. tonight’s jackpot was $41,000,000:
“what do you WANT me to do with $41,000,000? you tell me!”

someone wanted to buy some styrofoam cups, and i scanned them:
(phone rings because my boss is always watching and listening in his basement “bat-cave”)
slim – “how much did you charge him for the cups?”
matt – “a dollar something. i scanned them.”
slim – “don’t scan anything. i told you that the prices are all wrong, you sold it to him for a low price.”
matt – “so, i can’t scan anything?
slim – “well, not everything.”
slim – “just call me next time.”

a young black man wanted our cheapest lighter which happened, unbeknownst to him to have a kitten on it:
“yeah, i like pussys.”

otter (old, alcoholic regular) bought some gatorade:
otter – “is this the blue gatorade?”
matt – “looks purple.”
otter – “well, it’ll have to do.”

radio – “jiiiiive talkin’!”

customer – “thirsty!”
matt – “it’s friday.”
customer – “thirsty, i said.” he proceeded to pay for a can of old milwuakee ($1.25) entirely in pennies.

radio – “hotline, hotline, calling on the hotline for your love”

cheryl (regular and sometime employee) came in and chatted me up for a while. eventually slim (who’s greek) called to tell her to leave (because he was watching and listening):
cheryl (over the phone) – “come and kick my ass! i’m waiting ‘casa grecque’!”

matt – “do you need a bag?”
customer (an englishman) – “nah.”
(the customer picks up his two items and promptly drops one)
customer (in a cockney accent) – “they jumpin’ out me ‘ands!”

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by matt

saw this on my way to grocery store last night on grand trunk near island.

here’s what they’re putting up.

and here’s their website:


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m:  i love this place.  in fact, i think it’s my new favourite place.  $4 dumplings?  20 dumplings?  yessir.

j:  and the soup! for me, it’s all about the hand pulled noodles in the lamb soup. they’re dense and chewy, but somehow not doughy. love.

m:  yeah, those noodles…  …  yeah…  and cctv never gets boring.  ever.

j:  yeah, it might if we could understand what the heck they were saying! but that brings me to another thing i love about this place – it’s like your at somebody’s house and they’re just cooking food for their friends and family. it’s absolutely delicious, but it’s not there to impress anyone – they make the food that they want to eat, and then we get to eat it, too.

m:  taste is underrated.  why do people make stuff that tastes bad?  or just not good?  make it fantastic, fer chrissake.  it’s not hard.

j:  no, i think it is hard. it’s easier to create a trendy atmosphere and serve mediocre food. some people value a trendy atmosphere. but putting in the work, every day, to make really exceptional food that doesn’t cut corners is hard. that’s why we like lotus bleu’s kind of minimalist atmosphere – it really is just about the food there.

m:  granted, it takes a certain amount of effort to make dumplings in the first place but it shouldn’t be unique.  it’s just effort, not talent.

j:  agreed… (awkward silence)… now back to those dumplings. of the two kinds we ordered (pork and chive, and pork and cabbage), i liked the ones with chive the best. and the chili oil and black vinegar is perfect with them.

m:  i mean, just make the damn dumplings like you mean it.  and not like you THINK i want them.

j:  do you have a secret past full of dumpling related trauma that you’re keeping from me?

m:  i was once tied up and pelted with dumplings but that’s none of your business. nor is it here nor there.   it’s just that a dumpling is such a simple thing.  it stinks to have bad dumplings, you know?  you know?  we could go to, say, qing  hua and end up paying twice the price for pretty much the same dumpling.  now, lotus bleu doesn’t have the variety of fillings that qing hua has but they’re just as good. and there aren’t enough places making them that good.  you know?  just good dumplings like i would assume my chinese grandmother would have made had i been chinese.

j:  first, you’re all talk. make some dumplings like a man instead of kvetching about everyone else’s dumplings. then you can say with some  authority that it’s a “simple thing”. another thing, qing hua’s dumplings are kind of semi-soup dumplings, and lotus bleu are just straight up dumplings without any broth in them. i agree that lotus bleu is far better value, but they’re not really the same thing. i don’t think they’ll ever get blown up like qing hua, either, being out in verdun and not really set up for it. but i think we should discuss the lamb soup, and that strange man who was babbling about “knife cut” noodles last time we were there.

m:  yeah, i think that guy was nuts but for all he was wrong about (montreal was originally english?  ?  because some buildings have english names or text above their doors?) he was right about the knife cut noodles.  at least we have to assume he was because we can’t get them in montreal.  the lamp soup is amazing.  now THAT’S craft.  it’s so much harder to make a broth like that and noodles like that than a good dumpling.  i can understand why virtually no one does it.  that soup is reason enough to go back again and again.  i give lotus bleu my highest rating of five hands… to mouths.  julia?

j:  well, thanks, resident broth expert. i’m glad you’re familiar with the relative difficulty levels of chinese dishes. but seriously, slurping those thick noodles out of the spicy, cilantro scented broth is heavenly. especially when the noodle seems to go on forever. my only complaint is the orange oil stain it leaves in the corners of my mouth. it’s tasty orange oil though. gingery and sesame-y. and the lamb bits are quite tender and pleasantly salty.  i also have to give lotus bleu five hands. also to mouths.

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